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Mierzwa's dedication to parish is inspiring

On June 18, the Rev. Ronald Mierzwa wrote a beautiful message in the My View column. He spoke of his total commitment to the parishioners of Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville, and of his complete immersion into the community.

I've never met Mierzwa personally, but he has had a significant spiritual influence on my life. I taught in the Maryvale School District for many years, retiring in 1991. During my tenure there, I would occasionally attend Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Cheektowaga. On one of those days, I had the good fortune of hearing father preach. This was probably 25 to 30 years ago, so Mierzwa was a young man. It was a holy day of obligation, and also happened to be an anniversary of his ordination. I don't recall which one, but I do recall his stating that his commitment to the priesthood was as strong that day as it was on his first day. I left that Mass feeling more fulfilled than I had in a long time.

After reading his column on Saturday, I was not the least bit surprised at his continued devotion, and pray that his parishioners appreciate him as much as I continue to. By the way, since Bishop Edward Kmiec has reached the mandatory retirement age, how about considering Mierzwa for the job?

Louis R. Fabiano



Koi ponds, water gardens also pose risk to children

Thanks to The News for its potentially life-saving article on the dangers of kiddie pools. Unfortunately, additional important points on backyard drowning still need to be made.

First, the koi ponds and water gardens that are growing in popularity are just as dangerous to a toddler as a swimming pool. We have laws requiring fencing around pools, but not around these insidious ponds. It takes a village to raise a child -- and one of the village's responsibilities is to protect children from the dangers we install on our properties. Legislation needs to address all forms of permanent water features.

Second, readers need to be made aware that the right way to fence a pool is to fence the pool area, not the yard. If you fence the yard, you're protecting your neighbors' children, but not your own (unless you lock your children out of the yard at all times).

And last, supervising children around any body of water means keeping visual surveillance 100 percent of the time, not just hanging out in the general vicinity. People think drowning victims scream for help. They don't. Most simply slip silently beneath the water.

Terry Fleig

Orchard Park


Teamsters 264 members deserve some answers

The members of Teamsters 264 need to know what happens behind closed doors. The entire administrative staff of Teamsters 264 has paid union dues for years with no contract, representation or grievance process. The new administration treats its employees horribly, fighting for members' rights while treating its staff with zero respect.

Under the last administration, no employee had been terminated in more than eight years. Within hours of taking office, the new president and executive board terminated the administrative assistant in the Falconer office and the local's new organizer. On May 13, the funds administrator and the administrative assistant were called into the president's office and told they were being laid off. All were supporters of the past president.

Stewards need to step up to the plate and start asking questions at monthly meetings; they are held for just that reason. Money is going fast. It is up to them to make sure our local stays strong. Ask questions like: Why has the president hired a consultant making $5,000 a month? Does the president not have the confidence to run our local? Why does 264 pay a union steward $500 a month in addition to his steward reimbursement? The presidential election platform stated that the executive staff would take a pay cut; not so.

On 264's website it says, "Our members are our strength. Our children are our future. Our retirees are our foundation." If you believe in that, then stand together, show your strength so your children can have a future and help maintain what our retirees have grown for you.

Kim Overhoff

West Seneca


Kudos to charter school for 100% graduation rate

In a recent article about high school graduation rates, much attention was given to the very serious problem of falling graduation rates in the Buffalo Public School system. However, there was a success story buried within the data regarding the achievement of a local charter school.

When the State Education Department unveiled its data recently, the Charter School for Applied Technologies led all state high schools, conferring diplomas on each and every fourth-year senior. Simply put, no other school in Western New York accomplished this feat. Not in the suburbs. Not in the city. Not anywhere within our region. Even more remarkable is that the school did the same thing last year.

Consider that the school cannot select its students, has a student body that consists of 87 percent Buffalo students and has a high rate of poverty among pupils (about 80 percent of families live at or below the poverty line).

So, even if another word of this tremendous accomplishment is not said, I offer my congratulations to the students, staff and families of the Charter School for Applied Technologies.

Anne Marie Tryjankowski

Assistant Professor, Canisius College

West Seneca


Cigarette warnings ignored by smokers

Over time, cigarette warnings have lost their effectiveness. Despite the objection of the corporations that promote cigarettes, the United States is joining many countries that provide graphic warnings.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg commented on the warnings, "Various studies showed that they had lost their power and effect." The new warnings will be "much larger and more prominent, taking up half of the cigarette pack. And they will be in bold color with clear statements with respect to the health risks."

Those profiting from cigarette promotion know that the younger smoking is started, the harder it is to quit the nicotine addiction. Many start as young teens.

When I was in college, during Easter break in Florida the cigarette companies would pull trucks up to the beach and hand out truckloads of free cigarettes to the students. Although much of their flagrant marketing has been prevented, the cigarette corporations are still, for profit, pushing a known carcinogen that causes a horrible, painful death. The fact is this is the last thing most think of when they take their first drag.

John Feroleto


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